FBI Takes Down Ransomware Network

(TotalConservative.com) – An incredibly devastating malware organization was taken down by U.S. and international partners in the United Kingdom according to a Department of Justice announcement on Tuesday, February 20. The LockBit network allowed hackers and other criminals to purchase malware that they could then use to infect targets with the malicious code.

The software would hijack control of the infected systems and encrypt vital data such that the company or organization loses access. The hackers then demand a ransom in exchange for the keys to decrypt the data. The attack is known as a “ransomware attack.”

Criminals using ransomware have already extorted over $120 million from victims, according to authorities.

This week’s bust involved FBI collaboration with U.K. partners wherein they were able to shut down websites that LockBit was using to connect with its criminal customers. They also confiscated two servers based in the U.S. which were being used to route the misbegotten data.

LockBit’s website was seized by the feds and has been replaced with a banner that says the site was confiscated by law enforcement. Attorney General Merrick Garland added that their efforts successfully extracted the keys to unlock the stolen data so that the victims’ data could be restored without paying a ransom.

Ivan Kondratyev and Artur Sungatov were both indicted along with a growing list of suspects charged by the DOJ for participating in the LockBit enterprise. The number of individuals charged in association with the scam is now five in total.

Authorities suggested that LockBit’s code was incredibly popular for hackers and that roughly 16% of ransomware hackers used its code as of 2022. The organization first appeared in 2020, first attacking Russian organizations before expanding their operation.

The FBI also busted another organization called Hive in July 2022. It was also involved in international ransomware attacks. They were able to acquire the keys in those incidents and save victims’ data.

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